Auctionbytes has an interesting story this morning regarding a recent eBay survey of US users. One of the questions apparently reads:
To make eBay a safer place to buy and sell, sellers would be limited to accepting only the following safer electronic payment methods for their eBay sales (Paper forms of payment such as personal checks, cashier’s checks and money orders would no longer be allowed):
* Certain other electronic payment methods currently allowed on eBay, such as Xoom and Propay
* Credit Card or Debit Card payments made directly to the seller’s Merchant Account (Sellers would need to acquire a Merchant Account from a bank or other provider)
* In person payment for local pickup items
Sellers would be able to accept any one of the above payment methods, or they could accept all of the above. Sellers would receive full protection from payment reversals for items sold on eBay and paid with PayPal when they ship to the address provided by PayPal. Buyers paying with PayPal would be fully covered, no coverage limit, if their item doesn’t arrive or is different than described.
eBay have said that they have no plans to replicate their Australian PayPal-only policy in the US, but as many eBay-watchers have said, those statements seem to have been very carefully couched in get-out clauses.
A move to all-electronic payments would surely make buying on eBay safer for buyers, though it would also drive away those who don’t have access to credit and debit cards, and those who choose not to use them online. Allowing the use of other payment providers than PayPal might help to convince sellers that this isn’t purely about eBay’s bottom line.
eBay typically only consult users like this when something has been decided and they’re just tweaking the details, so I’ll be expecting an announcement from the US on this before the end of this year.